World Heritage Sites are unique places or buildings of immense value even for future generations. Heritage means cultural or natural sites of substantial value passed on to us by past generations. In the case of a family, heritage can be possessions, properties or value based traditions. But the heritage of a country refers to its achievements, cultures and history.
What are World Heritage sites?
World Heritage Sites are of substantial value for present and future generations for their uniqueness and rich cultures. It may be situated in a particular country, but all nations have a duty to protect the same and pass on to next generation. Such places are identified and listed by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. These sites stand as testimony for the past cultures, natural wealth and diversity of the planet.
What led to the formation of UNESCO World Heritage Centre?
The concept of UNESCO World Heritage Centre resulted from two needs; preservation of cultural sites and conservation of nature. Preservation of cultural sites gained momentum when it was decided by Egyptian government to build the Aswan High Dam. The valley in which the treasures of ancient Egypt- the Abu Simbel temple was located in the catchment area of the dam. In 1959, UNESCO launched a campaign to safe guard these precious treasures. It was a joint campaign by 50 countries. This led to the demand for preserving many other historical sites and treasures. Along with this conservation of natural wonders also began to gain attention.
To assist nations in identifying, preserving and promoting World Heritage Sites, the World Heritage Fund was created In 1972, with contributions from member countries both on a compulsory and voluntary basis.
How many World Heritage Sites exist as of now?
UNESCO has recognised 1052 world heritage sites as of now across the globe. Of these, 814 are cultural sites, 203 are natural sites and the remaining 35 are mixed sites. The world is divided into five geographic zones by the World Heritage Committee.
Which are the major World Heritage Sites?
Some the prominent World Heritage Sites are
* Taj Mahal, India
* Great Barrier Reef, Australia
* Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA
* Easter Island, Chile
* Petra, Jordan
* Angkor Wat, Cambodia
* St. Petersburg, Russia
How many World Heritage Sites are there in India?
As of now, there are 35 (27 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed) World Heritage Sites in India. Main among them are:
* Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary, assam
* Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
* Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bihar
* Red Fort Complex, Delhi,
* Group of Monuments at Hampi
* Ajanta Caves, Mahartashtra
* Ellora Caves
UNESCO in 2008 established Intangible Cultural Heritage list. UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list focuses on intangible aspects of culture. The list is a counter part to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
World Heritage Sites: Relevant Points In A Nutshell
World Heritage Sites are unique places or buildings of immense value even for future generations. World Heritage Sites are identified and listed by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO. These sites stand as testimony for the past cultures, natural wealth and diversity of the planet.